Adar II 5774/March 2014
More than a twelvemonth has gone by
since the appearance of our previous issue,
due to far-reaching changes in the life
of the founding editor, who saw her mother
through life's last chapter and, that chapter closed,
returned to Israel and settled there,
with all the changes which that move entails.
Unchanged remains the nature of this journal,
unchanged its aim: to keep a venue open
for poems that reflect the dignity
of the Creation and of humans made
in the Creator's image, though that vision
is often hard, these days, to keep in view,
despite all the denial and distractions
designed to drag us all out of mind's center.
Hence the theme of this issue, only made
more pointed by the fact that now we both
contemplate the terrestrial spectacle
from the center of a storm which in the meantime
has only been upgraded. To look back
upon a native land that has elected
a servant of its own and Israel's foes,
upon a culture that has once more let
the antisemitic djinn out of the bottle
together with assorted evil spirits
which seven days a week, both day and night,
incite to the indulgence of worst impulse,
is to mourn what was once a decent country,
a home for equity and human hope.
How firmly we believed that life was founded
on freedom's right; how swiftly things have
Only the definitions have not changed
of truth and equity, nor are they moved
from their central position in our life
insofar as it keeps some human shape,
and poetry though mindful of what rages
around that center, still must keep on pulling
towards it, pulling us towards it.
In the central
sections of this issue you will find
what we received in answer to our call.
The note of politics we just now struck
sounds there, but harmonized and counterpointed
with other themes, and this is as it should be.
Though in the present moment we are hearing
a clang of urgency, of a clock striking
post-midnight, of a Purim struggle which,
although the holiday is past, still rages,
we hope not amid struggle to forget
what is at stake -- the texture of a life
where right is heard, where some space remains
for love, beauty and unexpected grace,
where honest minds can meet and counsel take
to generate some wind that may advance them.
For where that is forgotten, all is lost,
and where remembered, much may be regained.
Besides the issue which is now online,
we'd like to call attention to new poems
on the homepage, which were too long to fit
into the format of our printed issue
(we still do print it out for libraries
and for those who subscribe; its facsimile
you can print two-sided from the .pdf)
-- Jack Lovejoy's "mini-epics" (our name for them),
and Yishai Beckwith's "Alone."
For our next issue,
we will continue dwelling on "The Center"
and would especially welcome poems that speak
of places where Centrality was felt.
We thank you for your poems and your attention,
and hope for more good poems, and for good news.
Esther Cameron, Editor-in-chief
Mindy Aber Barad, Co-editor for Israel
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